Boston shines as Massachusetts’ revolutionary capital, from Harvard to the Freedom Trail.
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston dates back to 1630 and was the site of many key battles during the American Revolution. Today, the city is home to more than 6 million people and is known for its quintessential Irish pubs, fanatical Boston Red sox fans and a relaxed, small-town vibe.
Boston has 21 neighborhoods. These include South Boston, popular with young professionals and families; trendy Jamaica Plain, which was gentrified in the early 2000s; wealthy Beacon Hill; and upscale Back Bay, where the city’s iconic brownstone buildings reign supreme. Nearby Fenway is home to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox baseball team. The more modern Financial District, dense with skyscrapers, is where you’ll find the New England Aquarium. Make time to stroll through the Boston Common in the downtown area. It is the United States' oldest city park, dating from 1634. Take a ride on an iconic swan boat, paddle in the Frog Pond, or see the final resting places of revolutionary soldiers.
With its European-style street pattern, Boston can be a challenge for the uninitiated to navigate. The grid system typical of many American cities doesn’t exist here, but first-time visitors often enjoy getting lost on its narrow, winding streets. From the Boston Common meander through history along the famous Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) course takes you past more than a dozen sites significant to the American Revolution, including Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution Museum. The trail brings you to Faneuil Hall, a marketplace studded with shops, eateries and galleries. Street performers are ever-present here and add to the rowdy atmosphere.
Boston’s cuisine is eclectic, revealing the influence of the many ethnic groups that moved to the city in the early 1900s. East Boston in particular was a magnet for immigrants from Italy, Guatemala, El Salvador and Brazil. You’ll find plates of rich Italian spaghetti and the popular pupusas, tortillas stuffed with meat and beans.
Despite the city’s twisting streets, Boston is relatively compact and easy to explore on foot. For longer journeys, take a bus or the subway, affectionately nicknamed “The T.” Boston’s public transport system is one of the best in the country.